Thursday 19 July 2012

Celebrating Five Star Reviews with Paperback Giveaway

To celebrate some wonderful new reviews posted this month on The Meaning of Children's page, I'm giving away two PAPERBACK copies at Goodreads, starting tomorrow.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Meaning Of Children by Beverly Akerman

The Meaning Of Children

by Beverly Akerman

Giveaway ends August 17, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Here are the reviews; thanks so much to those who took the time to read and post their comments. It is very much appreciated!

5.0 out of 5 stars A book that stays with you long after the last page is turned
The Meaning of Children was an absolute joy to read. I laughed out loud at some stories and wept shamelessly at others, all the while savouring every skillfully handpicked word. One cannot read The Meaning of Children and not be moved in some way by the stories therein. It is a beautiful quilt, made of exquisitely crafted pieces which when taken as a whole is so much more than a sum of its parts. If you are looking for the sort of book that will stay with you long after the last page is turned, then look no further. I strongly recommend it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful stories
I don't usually write reviews.

I don't usually read books of short stories.

I don't usually read outside my few favorite genres.

I first heard Ms Akerman's writing when she did a reading to promote this very book. I was struck by how strong her grasp of a child's voice was. How solid the writing, how soothing the prose and the thoughtful and stimulating story.

That's why I bought this book.

I haven't been disappointed. I love these stories. Every one of them solid, entertaining, thought provoking and just plain good.
Can't beat that.

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Meaning of Children" by Beverly Akerman. Holstein, Ontario: Exile Editions, 2010
This book of short stories is one of the best books I have ever read that gets right into the child's mind and way of thinking. The page where the author describes the girl stopping to run because she had to get her shorts out of her bum crack says it all. The fact that the woman who's having an abortion is written in the third person is enough to show us her ambivalent feelings. The contrast between the child's and parents' thinking adds another dimension to this book.

Beverly Akerman is a master of "show not tell," phrases which I learned in all my creative writing classes. We get the picture in very few words. The situations in which the children find themselves are universal. They brought me back to my own childhood with all its thrills and tribulations.

We smile when we read how literal 11-year-old Karen interprets the following conversation with her friend Audrey:

"Last night, my mother told my father that she's going
to wear panties to bed every night. To prevent any
more accidents...I didn't want Audrey thinking I was
stupid, but around my house an 'accident' was whenever
my sister Lisa woke up with her bed wet" (p.46-47).

In addition, the book is so readable that I had trouble putting it down.

Beverly, please continue to write. I look forward to your next book.

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything is Illuminated
Before reading "The Meaning of Children" by Beverly Akerman - winner of the David Adams Richards Prize for Fiction - the last time my jaw dropped over a short story collection was when I re-discovered Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." With both collections, as I read the first few stories, I began to be aware that this was no mere entertainment, but an illumination. In Akerman's case, this epiphany is not just of childhood but of life, our own lives, our entire lives - as children, growing up, as adults - transfigured through the eyes and experience and innocence of children.

Akerman's writing is precise - making the landscapes of Montreal and environs come alive with microscopic detail - and impressive in its ability to conjure believable first-person narratives, especially when it comes from the point of view of a child. More than that, Akerman maintains a sense of wonder throughout her collection with writing that borders on poetry, displaying the brilliance of a Jonathan Safran Foer without the modernist literary devices of flipbooks, photographs or typographical gymnastics.

Remarkable in its intensity and craft, "The Meaning of Children" is a book that bears discovering, and Akerman a writer to watch. 
5.0 out of 5 stars The Meaning of Children, July 4, 2012
Have just finished reading this wonderfully entertaining book,....for the second time. My only criticism is that it's not lengthy enough. Ms. Akerman is a master of the written phrase. With a minimum of dialogue in each of the short stories, she is able to communicate in few words virtually every human emotion and experience. The stories are an endorsement of how childhood experiences can influence adult development., how the conscious and subconscious memories can shape the personality and destiny of an adult. It is a well researched book. Much can be learned from the tidbits of psychology and human biology that are sprinkled throughout the book.

Mortimer Levy Montreal.


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